Stop And Smell The Flowers

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Everyday Growing Artist

The problem with being an artist trying to grow her business is TIME.  There never seems to be enough time in a day to do what I want to do.  It seems like no matter how much I try to set aside the time something always comes up and steals it away.

I work full-time in addition to my art career and that takes up my weekdays 8-5PM.  When I get home from work I must cook dinner (unless my wonderful husband has done it for me, which he frequently does), spend time with Mom, the kids and my husband.  Whatever time is left is mine to spend doing my own thing. 

Sometimes Mom requires more time than other days though.  She is 81 years old now and needs care and attention.  I may not have her for long, so I sacrifice the time.  The kids, well they are teenagers and are usually doing their own thing but my youngest, still need time and attention and I want to be there for him no matter what.  My husband is a rock.  He is so supportive and loving and is always willing to help me carve out my time.  In exchange I let him watch football. ;-)  All kidding aside, he gets me and understands that I NEED this time and never complains. 

By the time my free time does come up, many days I am just too tired to be creative and all I can do is use the time to network a bit on Facebook or plan my next project.

I look at all wonderful artists online that paint every single day and I wonder how on earth they do it.  I wonder if they work at a job besides their art, and how they schedule their time.  I must admit I am a bit envious of their time and all the beautiful art they create. But this is my life and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

My time spent painting is usually productive and thankfully I paint pretty fast.  I can usually complete a painting in 1 to 2 days, depending on the size and the detail of the piece.  While it isn’t near enough time, I try to make every day count in some way artistically.  Whether I am pouring over all the wonderful art work on Facebook or reading an Art Book, I try to make art a part of every day.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Boomer 2

Boomer and I are getting to be good friends.  I set out this weekend to complete the second commission piece of Boomer for a friend. The first portrait of Boomer was a practice run for the Portrait I completed today. Boomer 2 is on a smaller scale but the same size canvas 16 x 20. It will eventually be framed in the back of a chair. See previous post for photo of chair.

The smaller scale portrait was more of a challenge. Everything was smaller so I had to break out the detail brushes. I also was more organized when mixing my colors, careful to record the color mixes, and to mix ample color for the entire portrait.  I recommend this practice because there is nothing more frustrating than not having enough paint to finish your painting and having to remix color but not being able to remember what colors you used for the perfect match.   Painful lessons learned. Also for a commissioned piece I thought it would be be wise to document my color palette in case I ever have to touch up, repair or paint another painting. 

Another difference in this painting was the addition of a mane. The reference photo for the pose didn't show the mane so I had to use alternate references to paint the mane. The coloring was a bit different in each reference because of the lighting changes and I originally painted the mane a bit too light. The owner pointed it out after seeing the progress photo so I adjusted the color. Thank goodness for technology and the convenience of sending photos in a text. Without it I would have had to make the adjustment in a later stage or after delivery. 

Another change that was made was done after I posted the finished painting to a Facebook group called Painting Friends. A group member pointed out that the horses head looked as if it were mounted and that this was less appealing.  She suggested I add some shadowing to the right to give the suggestion of the horses body. I get where she was going and after looking at it I agree. In this case it isn't going to make a difference because the painting will be framed in a smaller frame but for my own peace of mind I added a bit of shadowing.  Not much but it's better. 

Many lessons learned this go around. But the client is happy and that makes me happy. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014


I set out today to work on roses again. They have, by far, been one of my biggest challenges. They are very intricate with all their overlapping petals and layers of color.

I chose a single rose as my focus. I am happy with the results but look forward to the day when I can create them effortlessly. Honestly today I struggled more with greenery than I did the rose. My brush strokes just weren't on point today. All in all I am happy with the results. I will live to paint another day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Welcome....Meet Boomer

Welcome to my blog.  My plan for this blog is to post artwork as it happens.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  I want to share with others my adventures into painting and show you that the world of art can be the most exciting, challenging and often times frustrating process.  But it is so worth it!  

I will start with my painting of Boomer.   This was a very special commission for a friend and this was the first horse I'd ever painted.  Yep. the first.  There is a first time for everything right?  It was definitely a challenge for sure, but I loved doing it.  

My friend had seen a very cool chair that had a portrait of a horse on the back and wanted to replicate it but with a portrait of her horse.  She asked if I could do it.  I told her I wasn't sure but sure willing to give it a try.

I have to tell you I was a bit freaked out by the whole horse portait thing because I know very well that a portrait is a portrait.  If doesn't matter if it's a person or an animal, the likeness must be there.  Since my drawing skills suck I decided (with the client's permission) to do a drawing transfer, rather than try to sketch it out freehand.  This way the drawing would be spot on in dimension and perspective.  I uploaded the photo to Walgreens photo processing and printed the photo 16x20 poster sized.  I then used transfer paper and a stylus and went over all the lines in the photo.  Now some may call this cheating, and haters will hate, but I wanted to make sure that this drawing was spot on.  No room for error.  In my opinion, the drawing is the most important element, but so is application of color, shading and contour.   Cheating is a very strong word.  It takes a lot of skill to render a likeness in paint and hey I figure if it was okay for Edgar Degas and Norman Rockwell, it's good enough for me.  

After transferring the image I fixed the drawing by spraying it with some retouch varnish.  Then I outlined the drawing with black oil paint, highlighting the eyes, mouth and nose.

I then took a deep breath and started on the nose and eyes.  I decided to do the eyes first because in the past when I have done portraits I have saved the eyes for last and this proved to be problematic.  I wanted a clean canvas to start the eyes on and I have to say it was the best decision I had made.  I knew that if I screwed up the eyes and had to erase I would still have the rest of the drawing in tact and would only have to fix the eyes.  In the past when I had messed up the eyes I had to scrub and remove all the paint around the area and that made a mess of the skin around the eyes.  This worked out best for me.  Luckily I got the eyes right the first time!  

I then moved on the to the nose.  The nose wasn't as difficult as the eyes, but Boomers distinctive markings made it a bit of a challenge.  I was happy with the results and moved on to complete the nose.  The biggest challenge at this point was to get the contours accurate.  By first putting in the shadow areas and the highlights I was able to put in the mid-tones and blend the areas together.  

I moved on up the head and completed the ears and neck.  The mane was left for last as it would require a lot of detail.

Once the head and neck were complete, all that was left were the mane, the details and the background.  At this point I am now looking at the muscle contours, softening lines and making sure that I didn't miss anything. 

As you can see there is little detail in the mane at this point.  I went ahead and added the background.  The first background was a bit drab, mostly brown and it seemed to swallow Boomer up.  At the suggestion of another artist I added a bit of green to make the horse pop.  I like it better now.  I then moved on to add more detail to the mane between the ears, the detailing on the ears and fine tuning of the contours.

Boomer is complete now and I get to do another one specifically for the chair.  Yep, the first one was just to practice.  We will see Boomer again!!